Although most of us think of ‘dear diary…’ when it comes to keeping a journal, putting pen to paper has many therapeutic benefits and can be an effective way for you to decompress and feel less anxious.
We’ll look at the benefits of journaling, share tips for including it in your routine and give you seven prompts to get you started.
What are the benefits of journaling?
Whether it’s working through what you’re feeling, reflecting on a recent event or simply using it as a ‘brain dump’ to clear your mind, your journal can serve many purposes.
- Reduce stress and calm your mind
If you find yourself laying in bed ready to sleep with thoughts racing through your head and struggling to drift off, journaling for five or ten minutes can help to get them into writing and onto a page.
- Improve your memory
As well as writing down how you’re feeling, journaling is a useful tool for documenting your days. You can look back on memories and be thankful for happy moments, or perhaps see your progress from two months ago and how far you have come.
- Manage your emotions
A study by psychologists at the University of California found that writing about your feelings can help your brain to regulate emotions and leave you feeling happier.
How to fit journaling into your routine
It’s said that any new habit takes 21 days to stick, but how can you fit time for journaling into your busy schedule? Amongst the deadlines, meetings, and chores, it can seem an impossible task, but here are some easy ways to find some time.
Try morning pages
A practice shared by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way, morning pages invites you to write three pages of stream of consciousness journaling every morning when you first wake up. Think of it like freewriting, where you write down any thoughts, worries, or concerns about the day ahead… or even what you have to do when running errands later that afternoon.
“Morning pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize, and synchronize the day at hand.”
– Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way
Try waking up half an hour earlier and write with your coffee, or swap your scroll of social media on your morning commute for some self-reflection time.
Carry your journal with you
A simple and accessible way to build this habit, whether you record a fleeting thought on your commute home or something you heard on your lunch break, is to always have your journal with you. Even if you only write one or two lines a day at first, you’ll start to form the habit and see the benefit.
Not a fan of the analogue life? Use an app like Zen Buddy to record your thoughts on the go. Whether it’s between meetings, whilst you’re waiting for the train, or just before bed, you can easily add to your journal entries.
Seven journaling prompts you can try this week
Sometimes it can be difficult to get pen to paper if you’re new to journaling. Here are seven journaling prompts you can try this week to bring moments of calm into your day, from gratitude to self-reflection.
- What are you grateful for?
- Write a letter to your past or future self.
- What are your favourite hobbies and why?
- What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
- What is your biggest goal in life?
- How would you describe your ideal day?
- What are you most worried about right now?
Anxiety is on the increase. It affects our relationships, our work, and our pleasure in once-enjoyed activities. If you’d like to learn how to relieve your anxious physical and mental symptoms and reset, this course can help you do that! It will enable you to see the situations that make you anxious as less threatening and teach you techniques from relaxation to thought reframing.